I’m posting a normal post, but will check in later after I celebrate:) to see if you were here!! Will you give me the gift of getting to know you, by following? Thanks so much for celebrating with me today!
Kelsey and I had the enjoyment and privilege of visiting with our friend recently, a young mom who happens to be from India. She cooked a wonderful Indian meal for us for lunch. What a joy to be with her and her children. She is a Homeschooling mom and wanted me to help her with planning for her school year.
(Though I no longer Homeschool because my children have graduated, I will speak in the present tense about the tools and planning which were in place when I was Homeschooling.)
I showed her my school notebooks (one for each year), and my goal sheets for the year, and my weekly schedule, and other forms which help me: my Master Grocery List and Menu Plan (monthly). Though I don’t rigidly follow my schedule, it is an indispensable tool for planning the school year. Perhaps you’ve already begun your school year, but if you haven’t thought about your goals in light of what God wants you to accomplish this year, and what character He wants to build or work on in your lives as a family and individual, then I would take a step back, and pray about that. Set some goals, and tweak your schedule, or rewrite it to reflect what the Lord wants for you this year. Plan ways to accomplish the goals you’ve set. (For example, if your husband wants your family to be serving others more, plan a weekly community service project, or time of ministry–see the ideas below.) Integrate your goals into your assignments. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Let me show you! If you’re working on the character quality of humility, you could plan for that word to be part of your Language Arts program by looking up the meaning, writing out Bible verses relating to it (in your best penmanship), looking up synonyms for humility. The older children could write a paper on, or read about, someone in history who exhibited this character quality, or your whole family could study someone in the Bible who was exceptionally humble. In our Homeschool we would work on certain character traits each month and evaluate our children in those areas at the end of the month. You see how you can integrate God’s goals for your family into your school, and weekly schedule and assignments. Then set up periodic “check points” when you’ll evaluate how you’re doing. Perhaps you’ll set new character goals, as we did. Meet with each child at those times, and have them evaluate themselves on the character trait(s) they’ve been working on. Give praise. Write down the praise and progress that’s been achieved. If there are recommendations for the future, write them down as well. Keep good records of what you’ve done in your school. We made out a monthly report on what was accomplished academically, but I kept a daily notebook, with assignments for each child, as well. Write a list of the books you’ve read, adding to it whenever you take books out from the library, or listen to a book on tape, or read as a family. Record the places you’ve been, the pages in the textbook completed, the skills learned or practiced, etc. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve accomplished! No matter how you do it, just make sure to record your daily work–you will be greatly encouraged when you look back at all you’ve done!
I told her to do these things (I am adding some, so if you’re reading this, Vijaya, here’s more to think about!):
- Pray (First and foremost, pray and ask the Lord what He wants for your year!)
- Set goals for each child in the following areas:
- Spiritual: For example: Read through the Bible in a year; or, memorize Psalm 23; or, memorize specific salvation verses to use in witnessing (“Romans Road” verses).
- Academic (list each subject area, and write a goal, even if it’s just to “complete the book”)
- Skills (these might be anything from learning to tie your shoe to learning to type 45 wpm with 1 error, to learning to keep your room clean on a regular basis. Make the goals specific, and measurable. “Be able to type 45 wpm with only 1 error” is measurable, while “learn to type faster” is not.)
- Community Service (helping in your community or ministering: delivering Meals on Wheels, helping distribute Fare For All, serving at the Local Food Shelf, Singing at a Nursing Home, helping at Operation Christmas Child–these are all things which our family has done. Your family may also enjoy helping at a Gospel Mission: distributing meals to the homeless, helping with Bible studies, or music, etc.)
- Character Goals: e.g. humility, patience, punctuality, orderliness, obedience, respect, discernment
- Mental: e.g. Books to Read: How many and which ones
- Physical: this doesn’t have to be sports related, but can be
- Hospitality: Families to Have Over; how you will reach out and when
- Ministry: What will your family be involved in and how will your children serve
- Once you have your goals set, write out a General Weekly Schedule (use pencil, you will be erasing a lot, until you find what works best on paper–then you will be tweaking as you actually live it out!)
- On your weekly list include everything, but only in general terms. “Morning List” for me means getting up, making my bed, washing my face, brushing my teeth, showering, doing my hair, etc. Quiet Time and Family Devotions mean time with the Lord in Bible and prayer, both as a family and alone.
- Plan your weekly schedule to accomplish your goals: if you have a goal of weekly hospitality, and want to invite a family from church over for dinner each week, then decide when and put it on the schedule. You may decide to do it at a different time, but the time is slotted for it in your week.
- Place each thing on the schedule so your goals are accomplished naturally. If you’re having people over on Sundays, now you know you will have to schedule the cleaning and grocery shopping to be done before the weekend.
- Write down the most important things first, such as time in the morning with the Lord, and also, the things which are unchanging, such as piano lessons, and church services.
- Remember Titus 2 instructs us to be “keepers at home,” so plan most of your time to be there.
- Put on the schedule your cleaning, and cooking time, and grocery-shopping, as well as your school subjects (Math, Language Arts, Science, etc.), and blocks of time to do them.
- Plan for the preparation time needed to live and manage well. Place on your weekly schedule a time for school planning, and time for your family to spend together just talking or being together, doing nothing special. Plan when you will buy the birthday, shower and anniversary cards and gifts, etc. Think ahead seasonally: is there a time on your weekly schedule for buying Christmas presents? Do you have a time written down on your weekly schedule for planning and thinking: make sure there’s enough “margin” in your schedule for projects that will need to be done, whether it’s fall cleaning, or Christmas shopping, or doing the crafts you love, like scrapbooking. Put it on your weekly schedule.)
- You can make a small child a chart with pictures or drawings of what they’re to do, and have them put stickers on when they complete; make it colorful and teach them how to follow a schedule.
- Make a Master Grocery List and a Sample Monthly Menu (very flexible) on the computer (excel sheets)
- Don’t be afraid to tweak this schedule as time goes by: it is a tool to serve you
Did I overwhelm her? Probably. I realized as I was telling her these things, that being a “keeper at home” and following order and schedule in our homes, tells and teaches our children a million things, including:
- That God is a God of order
- How a wife is supposed to treat a husband
- How a family acts, and what it means to be one
- How to problem-solve, as a Christian
- As we pray and ask Him for guidance, they, (and we) learn that everything we do is in dependence on God; we are not acting in our own strength or wisdom.
- As we begin our day with the Lord and commit it to Him, they learn that everything we do is for His glory and in response to His commands or instruction.
And a myriad of other lessons about life are taught without saying a word! Just by being a “Keeper at Home,” loving your husband and loving your children.